Justice Minister Peter Mackay
Credits: BENOIT GARIEPY/QMI AGENCY
CALGARY — The feds say they're also examining possible further uses for DNA, as Calgary's top cop pushes for permission to collect DNA samples upon suspects' arrests.
On Wednesday, Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson said he'd like to see legislation amended to allow police to collect DNA samples upon a person's arrest in order to clear cases faster.
DNA can be collected during an investigation via a court-approved search warrant, but otherwise, only after a person is convicted.
"The use of DNA has been around and been involved in investigations and court cases for some time now," said federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
"This is something that has been discussed for a significant period of time. In fact, we've seen court rulings on this as well as far as its admissibility."
MacKay said he has been speaking with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney about the issue.
"We're examining ways in which we could perhaps bring DNA into further use," he said, adding he's aware of concerns regarding the intrusiveness of collecting DNA, especially if a person is not convicted, and the fact the samples could be kept in a database.
"I've heard that concern and I share concerns about privacy,” he said. “My personal view is that it is like a fingerprint and fingerprints as well were resisted in the early days.
"Having said that, we're simply examining it at this point ... there's no plans afoot to introduce
legislation. This is a very preliminary view as we look at other areas of the law."